Friday, June 5, 2009

Wisconsin: The Time of my Life

So this is a little belated. About three weeks belated, actually. But I wrote the majority of this before graduation, and just finished it off today. It’s not particularly glory-trodden or even well-written, just a smattering of thoughts as I and many of my friends enter this scary place called the real world.

It’s been an extremely full three weeks; I’ve wrung my hands over job prospects, graduated from college, gotten the most gratifying phone call of my life from a little city I like to call Davenport (or the QC), said goodbye to Madison friends, returned to Denver, endured surgery for the first time in my life (hey, wisdom teeth: you suck), watched three Nuggets games from my couch in searing pain thanks to said wisdom teeth, said goodbye to Colorado friends, said an emotional goodbye to my family and to my hometown Denver, moved out of my apartment, said goodbye to the last of my Madison friends, and trucked on down to the QC (or Womanport … only one of you should get that joke, oops) to begin my career.

For those who didn’t catch the news in an earlier blog post, I will be reporting on high school sports for the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa. As I said in that blog post, I feel extremely humbled to be granted this opportunity when there are currently so few opportunities to be had in this industry. I will certainly keep everybody posted on how it’s going; I’ll post as much as I can, but obviously, work comes first. Nonetheless, I’ll continue following Bucky from afar, just as I’m sure B-dubs will be keeping tabs on the Sooners as well.

But let’s get right to it. I wanted to write a few words about what college, Madison, and the University of Wisconsin has meant to me. This is for all the seniors who graduated with me last week, for all the Badger alumni who left before me, and for all our friends who are fortunate enough to return to Madison next fall as current students of the UW.


I remember the 2005 U.S. Open for one distinct reason, and it has nothing to do with tennis. My dad went to Flushing that year, and he constantly reminds me of when he was watching my boyhood rival (okay, fine, that one racquet-wielding stud who I played once and got one game off of. Some rival), Kellen Damico, play in the U.S. Junior Open for the first time. I wanted to hear none of it. It was Saturday afternoon, before Labor Day and before classes began on Tuesday. I had been in Madison for about a week, and hated it. HATED it. I had no friends; I was way in over my head thinking how hotshot cool I was to be going to school where I knew nobody as opposed to my Chatfield North (er, University of Colorado) friends. I wanted to go home, and was seriously considering a transfer back to CU.

But as is usually the case, life works itself out. I made a bunch of friends on Witte 6B during a pickup football game. The Badger Herald entered my life during Week 2. And, of course, you meet people and meet people through people and eventually build up a friend base. That’s when I learned, you can’t make snap judgments on what something’s going to be like after too short a time period, whether it’s a new town or a girlfriend or an MLB team in late April. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I almost sprinted my way back to Colorado, and I’m obviously glad I waited it out.

When I was fortunate enough to enter the ranks of the Herald sports editors as a freshman, that made for an unfortunate situation in that I had to leave that goofily-fun place after my sophomore year. It was disappointing that I couldn’t have spent more time there, but it did open up other opportunities with the Wisconsin State Journal and, later on, Janesville Gazette and Capital Times. My time with the Herald, Gazette and Cap Times are forever memorable, because I had the distinct pleasure of covering eight seasons’ worth of Badger athletics, both at home and on the road. Oh, those road trips. That’s the stuff college sportswriting is made of. The State Journal might not have opened those UW doors, but that’s particularly special because those sports assistant’s spots are where you really cut your teeth. I’ve now written four stories here in Davenport on high school baseball and soccer, and I can’t tell you how easy the transition has been because I did it for two years with the WSJ.

And then, senior year. The greatest year of my life, I’d say. Why? Well, it helps to be 21 in Madison. I never really was a big house party guy. And it helps to find a great living situation with a good roommate and an awesome apartment. And it helps to only take two classes your final semester so it’s a relatively low-stress way to go out.

But that’s not why. College will be missed not because of the town or the teams; they’ll always be there. It’s the people. And darnit, I’m gonna miss the 419ers.

I don’t wanna get all mushy on you guys, because hey, that’s not our style. Our style is all fun and games with just a touch of drama thrown in, which I love. But another style of mine, notoriously, has been enjoying a large group of acquaintances with the absence of truly close friends in my life. I was never one to have a tight-knit group around; I always preferred to move from friend base to friend base, keeping in touch with these acquaintances without having an entitled “best friend” or set-in-stone fallback group. Although the whole Badger Herald group came pretty close to that, it was a little tough for me as most of the sports people from my editing days were older and have moved on to Casper, Shawano, Nashville, Miami and elsewhere.

Then came the 419ers. Having that tight group that unequivocally loved hanging with each other multiple nights in a row, during class, after class, and the entire semester after our studio went dark, was a completely new experience for me. It made me a better person, for sure; and it was all a part of that newfound desire to soak up and enjoy college rather than viewing it as a four-year stopgap in life. I’m gonna miss all your crazy asses so much; obviously I’ll be up here again to relive our Nitty/Wando’s/Key/KK days, but on Zach’s recommendation, I call 419er road trip to visit me for the Wisconsin-Iowa basketball game in winter 2010. It might be a terrible matchup, but come on down anyways and we’ll show Iowa what the Four-One-Niners are made of.

Back to everyone else: that invitation is most definitely an open one to anybody who ever wants to visit the Quad Cities. You wanna come down and visit, just drop me a line and we’ll make it happen. I’m sure I’ll make plenty of friends in Davenport, but it’s always special to see old chums from Madison too.


I've definitely had a great run here. To me, it's beyond senseless that I was graduating high school four years ago. Forty-eight months ago. I mean, really, it feels weird typing that. College felt like it lasted 10-15 years, seriously. Without exaggeration. Probably because I lived so many different lives...the Herald, two different dorm floors, the State Journal, the club tennis team, my Jewish friends, the Janesville Gazette, covering eight different seasons of football/basketball/hockey/volleyball, Badger Nation, driving to something like 30 out-of-town games and tournaments to cover the Badgers, all my J-School friends, the Capital Times, and finally this final year of enjoying the bar scene when I was more reserved in my pre-21 days. I absolutely soaked everything I could out of the University of Wisconsin, and just can't believe it's over. The reason I was sentimental in that blog post is because during my frosh and soph years (and even some of junior year), I was like, I can't wait to get a job, be out of school, make money, start on my quest for ESPN or SI or what have you. Then finally, senior year, I realized how much I'll miss this place, that it was much, MUCH more than a stepping stone. So, yeah, it's become an emotional transitional period.

What did Wisconsin teach me? The easy answer is that I gained great perspective on how to properly balance the work ethic in your life with some fun. With regards to all my great memories with the Wisconsin State Journal and UW Tennis Club, making the tough decision to part ways with those two organizations freed up my time much more, and allowed me to respect that balance.

To that end, I’ll close with this. To all my Wisconsin professors, you guys are the best. Keep churning out great writers; there’s so much talent on this campus and in this J-school, there’s unbelievable opportunity to keep the Wisco tradition thriving.

To all my bosses, I’m not here without you. Thanks for giving me a shot, the experiences were invaluable.

To the aspiring sportswriters reading this – heck, to anybody with a “crazy” dream who’s trying to figure out what they’re trying to do with their life – that you should never, EVER, stop dreaming. More importantly, don’t stop believing.

And finally, to wrap up in an appropriate manner (since it is, you know, about Graduation). To everyone still in college thinking that it’s going to last forever: it won’t. It may have seemed like 10 years to me, but everyone else is right on that it does go by quickly. When it does come to an end, you’re going to wish like hell you had more time. Soak up college life for everything it’s worth, because it truly is…the time of your life.

_____________________________Taste every moment.
_______________________________Live it out loud.
__________________________This is the time to be more
_______________________Than a name or a face in the crowd.
____________________________I know this is the time,
___________________________This is the time of my life.
________________________________-David Cook

Talk to you all later. Good luck to all of you on your journeys, and please, PLEASE, keep in touch in any way you wish.



  1. Love all the 419 shoutouts :)

  2. Life is definitely a journey to be enjoyed, and you sound like your enjoying it. Life, Laugh and Love. All cliches, but true and from the heart. We here in Buffalo, where the Super Bowl has eluded us, are proud of you.